Friday, July 3, 2020

Thessalonians Words Challenge ~ My Set Up

My Set Up

Today I thought I would share a bit about my set up for going through the Thessalonians Words challenge. I like to print out any passage or book I'm going to study so I can make the marks that help me walk through the Word. Making observation marks helps me "see" my way to understanding and act like road markers on a map. I'm going to go through these types of observation steps as we advance through the challenge. 

My basic supplies are:
  • A print out of the book and a print out of the challenge calendar.
  • An A5 journal with dotted lines to keep my study notes in.
  • Lots of colored markers. I like the Staedtler Triplus Fineliners best.
  • An art journal. I'm going to continue to use the Leuchtturm 1917 Journal I've been using all year for my word of the year journal.

I mentioned in my last post that I am expanding this challenge to offer ways to go deeper for anyone who is interested. With each Words Challenge I offer a significant verse and a Bible study devotion to go along with each word. But, in all honesty, my heart is to see people learn to dig in and discover what God's Word says on their own, and to find the joy and growth that comes along with it. 

Let me explain briefly. Many times we will study the Bible using a book or study guide that someone else has written. There is nothing wrong with that! But what we are doing is taking in someone else's interpretation and opinion of what the Bible says and what the theology or doctrine means. And again, there is nothing wrong with that. However, we are shaped by their opinion. Instead we can learn observation and interpretation skills, take what we learn and compare it to what scholars and teachers say, and then make an informed decision on meaning. When we learn to dig in and study God's Word for ourselves and do the work of interpretation a number of things result:
  • We become more biblically literate. That time and energy we put into observation and interpretation and determining meaning results in the Word of God going deep into our hearts and minds, and we then KNOW the Bible. Intimately! Bible Study teacher and author, Jen Wilkin says, "The heart cannot love what the mind does not know".
  • We are shaped and transformed by God's Word. Now, transformation can come from using other's Bible study guides and books, but when you dig in and chew and digest the Word of God you gain more than knowledge and you become transformed. Over and over! You grow to know the Father, Son, and Spirit more deeply. And more than the purpose of our own transformation, the purpose of the Bible is that we grow to know who God is more intimately. It's His book. We grow to know Him more and we are transformed..
  • We find a joy in reading and studying the Bible. You may not get pumped up about every observation step or tool, but some of them will really connect with you and an excitement about studying the Bible will grow. That excitement will draw you back to studying God's Word again and again. One lady in a study methods class I led wasn't really connecting with the tools we were learning. That is until we went through a passage and made a list of all the things being contrasted in the passage. For her, breaking down what was being said into this list, made the Word of God open up more clearly to her, and her excitement began to grow. I love finding repeated words and finding out what message the author is communicating by emphasizing these words over and over. Along with that, word studies are a fun way of discovery for me. In fact, it is from those passions that these Words Challenges were created!
Would you join me in going deeper with this challenge? If so, I have created a new section here on my site. Bible Study Tips and Techniques. You'll find it at the top of the page on the menu.

As we go through the Words Challenge I will introduce different steps and techniques for Bible Study. Then each step or technique will have a dedicated page on the Bible Study page that you can either print out or refer back to. My steps and techniques are not much different than other Inductive Bible Study methods. Over the years as I have learned from others, my own style of study has developed. Without having to purchase numerous study books and Bible resource books or software, I have found the tools and resources needed on the Internet, and I will introduce my favorites to you and help you understand how to use them to expand and deepen your study. There are already some steps posted on the page. Check them out!

If you are up for adding the Bible study to the Words Challenge, then I am excited! But please don't feel it is necessary. You can still follow the Word Challenge with the daily Scripture reading and Bible Study devotions posted on my blog. And with both I hope you'll respond creatively and share your responses in the private Words Challenge Facebook group and/or on Instagram (#thessalonianswords).

We begin on Monday July 6th!

Click photo for printable PDF.


  1. Hi Mary!
    I once heard a quote that says, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." Well, this student has been asking God for a deeper walk in His Word. And you have shown up on my cyber doorstep with this study. I am excited, and a little intimidated, about embarking on this journey through Thessalonians with you. Thank you for your obedience to the Holy Spirit. I look forward to learning and growing alongside you. And to seeing your beautiful art!
    Love and prayers....Pamm

    1. Pamm, I'm so glad you are joining along! I hope you will enjoy it. Don't let it intimidate you. Just take it a step at a time. :)